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Food at A1 Canteen
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Sydney’s new wave of cult menu items

What will we be eating again and again in 2019?

Written by
Maggie Scardifield
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From Quay’s Snow Egg and Golden Century’s pipis in XO sauce, to Black Star’s strawberry and watermelon cake, Sydney loves to love a cult dish. But what will we be eating again and again in 2019? Toasties, sandwiches and jaffles are making a compelling case for this year’s Most Valuable Player. Likewise, riffs on classic Italian. We go in search of the city’s next round of hall-of-famers.

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RECOMMENDED: The 50 best restaurants in Sydney.

Sydney dishes you need to try in 2019

  • Restaurants
  • Sri Lankan
  • Darlinghurst
  • price 2 of 4

Order the: Crab-curry jaffle at Lankan Filling Station This elusive, labour-intensive toastie appears on Lankan Filling Station’s weekend brunch menu just once a month, so time your visit wisely (hint: after a crab-curry feast). The leftover crab from the event is cooked then hand-picked for the jaffles, which are served with lime pickle and fragrant pol sambol. Add a mango lassi, and away you go.

  • Restaurants
  • European
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Order the: French dip at Continental Deli CBD & the muffuletta at A1 Canteen Two Instagram-pleasing American sambos continue to vie for the city’s Best in Show: the New Orleans-style muffuletta at A1 Canteen, and the mighty $26 French dip at the CBD outpost of Continental Deli. Whether you opt for A1’s tightly packed ham, mortadella, salami, artichokes, olives and cheese mix, or Continental’s baguette of roasted Rangers Valley sirloin, Appenzeller cheese, mustard, onion and bowl of roasting juices (for the Boomerang-worthy dip), lunch is in good hands.

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  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst
  • price 2 of 4

Order the: Parmesan toasts with Japanese Vegemite at Love, Tilly Devine This clever bar snack came about when chef Michael West made a salted seaweed purée, now affectionately called Japanese Vegemite, to beef up some asparagus. “It made sense when the asparagus went out of season to put it on toast and cover it in cheese,” he says. The bread is Iggy’s, the cheese parmesan, and the combination killer. “They’re best eaten hot, butter dribbling down your chin, with a glass of bubbly.”

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Paddington
  • price 2 of 4

Order the: Garlic bread at Don Peppino’s There’s no baguette. No tin-foil. No diagonal cut or rain of parsley. For the garlic bread at Don Peppino’s, a gigantic wheel of semi-sourdough rolls is pulled apart and warmed in the bread oven before being injected with a caramelised garlic butter, enriched by cloves and marjoram. The butter melts as it makes its way to your table, but melts hearts long after.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Order the: Bucatini all’Amatriciana at Alberto’s Lounge Dan Pepperell’s interpretation of the cucina vera during his time at 10 William St spanned plenty of cult dishes (that pretzel! The sardine katsu sando!). And now, after three years in the kitchen at Restaurant Hubert, he’s back to his Italian(ish) ways at Alberto’s. Make a beeline for the Amatriciana. Bucatini, slick with rich red sauce, is the stage for fried chewy nubs of guanciale and pecorino Romano.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Bondi
  • price 2 of 4

Order the: Ice-cream sandwiches at Totti’s Nothing says #endlesssummer like an ice-cream sandwich and litre of Negroni under an olive tree. And that’s Totti’s to a tee, albeit with a prelude of woodfired bread, salumi and housemade pasta. For the finale, chefs Mike Eggert (Pinbone, Mr Liquor) and Khan Danis (Rockpool) do an old-school dessert with new-school sass: crisp light wafers sandwich classic tricolour Neapolitan ice cream.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Paddington

Order the: DIY line-caught fillet from Fish Butchery “Blue-eye trevalla has a nice amount of fat just beneath the skin that carries flavour so well,” says Josh Niland, chef-owner of Saint Peter and Fish Butchery. Bonito, meanwhile, is “amazing raw, but even better off a barbecue with sweet-and-sour sauce.” These are but some of the tips you’ll take home after visiting Niland’s butchery, which specialises in sustainably caught Australian species (the very same fish he uses at the restaurant). Consider it your New Year’s resolution to cook more, made easy.

  • Shopping
  • Delis
  • Potts Point

Order the: Grilled-cheese toastie at Penny’s Cheese Shop Turns out as well as wanting fresh L’Artisans and La Lunas for cheeseboards, Sydney wants its cheese melted inside (and outside) of sourdough, too. Four weekly changing cheeses go into Penny Lawson’s king of toasties: perhaps Swiss Appenzeller, raclette or Gruyère for oozy, gooey good-times, and always a sharp cheddar for extra bite. It doesn’t need it, but you can pimp yours with ham, onions or jalapeños, too.

Keen on stretching your dining dollar further?

  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian

Got Champagne taste on a Passion Pop budget? We hear you – eating out in Sydney can be exxy. It can be a struggle to get change from $200 for two, even at a mid-level restaurant. Luckily we’ve got some tips for you. We've prepped a guide for eating at some of Sydney's best restaurants, which won't break the bank. 

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